person studying with computer

While virtual learning may have been around for longer than a couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic is largely responsible for pushing remote learning into mainstream education. While remote options have made school easier for some, other students may struggle to keep up with their work as they adapt to a new way of learning. Whether you’re taking online classes during this upcoming Summer break or getting ready for the Fall semester, these tried and true tips for virtual learning can help keep you on the right track to success. 

Creating a Dedicated Space

The ability to learn from home has both positive and negative attributes. On one hand, you’re able to learn in an environment that is comfortable for you. But, on the other side of that same coin, that comfort you feel learning at home can pretty easily distract you.

To help eliminate distractions, consider setting up a designated area devoted to schoolwork and virtual learning times. This might be a desk in your bedroom, dining room table, or another quiet room in your house. This special area should be free from clutter and outside noise to help you maintain focus on school obligations. If it’s hard for you to find such a place at home, consider working at a local library or cafe, or find a good pair of headphones to muffle distractions.

Regardless of where you choose to set up and how you choose to customize that space, it should serve as a place where you can give your undivided attention during required times.

Maintaining Communication With Teachers and Peers

One of the biggest concerns with virtual learning is that students are losing the ability to interact with their peers. Humans are social creatures by nature and it’s a natural instinct to crave interaction with other people. When you’re sitting behind a computer screen instead of around others like you, it’s easy to feel a social disconnect.

That disconnect also extends to communication between you and your teachers. If you have a concern about an assignment or a certain concept being taught, it may feel more difficult to get your teacher’s attention during a virtual lesson. In this case, it’s imperative you maintain contact with your teachers, perhaps through a one-on-one call or email, to let them know your concerns.

Here are some other effective ways to maintain a connection with your teachers and classmates: 

  • Participate in breakout discussions. In most cases, your teacher may divide your class into breakout rooms to discuss the content taught during the first half of class. These smaller groups are a good opportunity to express your thoughts and concerns on what was taught without feeling like you’re going up in front of the entire class.
  • Utilize student group chats. Whether you make one yourself or you join one started by another classmate, group chats are a good way to keep up with assignments. You can also ask questions to get help from your peers.
  • Join virtual meetings early. This gives you time to have unstructured socialization with your teacher and other students in your class. 

Adapt Your Learning Style For Virtual Learning

One of the unique things about humans is that we all learn in different ways. While some people learn well through note taking, others may benefit more from visual demonstrations. It’s helpful to understand how you learn best so you can adapt your learning style to a virtual learning platform.

In general, a student learns best in one of four ways: visual learning, auditory learning, kinesthetic learning, or reading/writing. In fact, you may find that you learn well using more than one style. Think of the concepts you still remember from class, or the classes you performed well in – how did you study and process that information? If you still aren’t sure of your learning style, there are free online tests you can take that will tell you, like this Learning Style quiz, or this one by Education Planner.

Here are some helpful ways to adapt your learning style for remote learning: 

  • Visual Learning: Focus your attention on any teacher demonstrations or visual tools shared by your instructor. You may also want to print out any helpful charts, graphs, or other illustrated slides to reinforce what was taught.
  • Auditory Learning: Listen closely to what your teacher is saying, as well as what is discussed during breakout sessions. If you’re sensitive to auditory feedback or have trouble picking up on what’s being said, you may want to talk to your instructor about the possibility of subtitle use.
  • Kinesthetic Learning: Talk to your teacher about letting you stand up during lectures. If that isn’t an option, bouncing on an exercise ball can help you maintain focus.
  • Reading/Writing: Be diligent about taking notes during lecture times. If your teacher uses PowerPoint or Google Slides, ask if they will give you access to the information afterward.

Helpful Tips for Parents of Virtual Learners

For virtual learning to be successful, parental involvement and encouragement are essential. As the parent of a remote learner, there are some helpful tips for virtual learning specific to parents that you should bear in mind.

Help Them Utilize the Tips Mentioned Here

Although teens are generally independent, it can still be hard figuring out where to start without guidance. While you should certainly let them take the lead, you can still help them decide on a designated space and give them the right tools to follow our previous tips.

Encourage Organizational Skills

Keeping organized, especially when everything is congealed together on a digital platform can feel overwhelming. As a parent, you can help them develop and maintain time management and organizational skills to keep track of everything they need. Some helpful time management skills for students may include the following: 

  • Keeping and maintaining a planner: Buy them a planner where they can organize their school and home obligations in one place. If your teen prefers a digital platform, they might benefit from a Google Calendar or other online planning program. 
  • Prioritizing tasks: Lead by example and show them how to prioritize certain tasks over others. For example, if you’re paying bills and budgeting, demonstrate prioritizing by paying the essentials first, like gas, water, or the mortgage/rent.
  • Taking designated breaks: While your teen is working on assignments, you may choose to keep track of time for them and give reminders when it’s time to take a break.

Foster an Overall Love of Learning

One of the most beneficial things you can do, as a parent, is to encourage and foster a general love for learning. This can be difficult, especially when your child is working on a subject they aren’t passionate about. However, sitting down with them and talking through tough subjects can help your teen feel more motivated.

When they’re feeling reluctant about completing their assignments, consider offering rewards to incentivize working on assignments or studying. Once they finish a certain subject, you may reward them with an activity like computer or phone privileges, or even a treat like going for ice cream. 

For older students, you can also help get them excited about the future by researching and visiting various colleges and universities. In many cases, high schools allow a set number of excused absences if they’re used for college visits. You may consider taking advantage of that when you notice your teen is starting to feel burnt out with school.

Creating a positive environment for teens to enjoy the process of learning is perhaps the best thing a parent can do when learning how to help a teen struggling in high school.

Remote Learning Tips for Teachers

Remote learning isn’t just difficult for students, it can cause added stress for teachers too. If you’re an educator, consider utilizing these tips for virtual learning to make your online classes engaging, effective, and enjoyable: 

  • Create an open and welcoming environment. If your remote learning platform is full of creative and engaging content, your students will be more motivated to participate and listen to your lessons.
  • Make yourself available. While you shouldn’t devote all 24 hours of your day to work, you should offer your students a few different avenues for communication. These could be individual meetings, breakout rooms, or email communication when needed.
  • Make sure assignments are clear. Offer detailed instructions for your assignments and encourage communication if anything doesn’t feel clear.
  • Encourage student feedback. After a certain allotted timeframe, encourage your students to provide feedback on the structure of the online platform. Listen to their concerns and try to change what you can to best fit student needs.

Supplement Virtual Learning With Piqosity

There is nothing more beneficial to a student’s education than their teachers and tutors. However, online after-school programs like the courses offered by Piqosity are helpful educational supplements that ensure students get the most out of their education.

Piqosity offers a variety of courses for middle and high school students that provide users with the necessary review to truly learn and understand the concepts taught during school. Whether they need extra help in math or ELA, Piqosity has you covered!

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